|Publication number||US4422661 A|
|Application number||US 06/235,919|
|Publication date||Dec 27, 1983|
|Filing date||Feb 19, 1981|
|Priority date||Apr 10, 1980|
|Also published as||CA1152115A, CA1152115A1, DE3106122A1, DE3106122C2|
|Publication number||06235919, 235919, US 4422661 A, US 4422661A, US-A-4422661, US4422661 A, US4422661A|
|Original Assignee||Showa Manufacturing Co., Ltd.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (7), Referenced by (17), Classifications (24), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This invention relates generally to motorcycles and more particularly to a height adjusting system for use with a powerful motorcycle driven by a large capacity engine. With such a large engine beneath him a rider finds it difficult for his feet to reach the ground and the stability of the motorcycle when it either stops or runs at a low speed is reduced. This drawback may be reduced by reducing the thickness of the rider's seat, but with a corresponding sacrifice of comfort. On the other hand, if the thickness of the seat is maintained while keeping its height low, the gap between the under-side of the engine and the ground, i.e. the so-called "road clearance" is reduced. As a result, the leaning or banking angle of the motorcycle is reduced and high speed cornering becomes impossible.
The present invention is based on the principle of automatically adjusting the height of the motorcycle in accordance with the running speed and thus overcoming the drawbacks just mentioned. Thus, according to the invention front and rear telescopic suspensions each including a pneumatic shock absorbing mechanism for supporting a motorcycle body from the axles of the two wheels are connected to a high pressure gas source and means are provided for allowing gas under pressure to flow from the gas source to the two suspensions when the running speed of the motorcycle is raised, thereby increasing the height of the motorcycle. When the motorcycle stops or runs slowly the gas is released and the height of the motorcycle is lowered accordingly.
An example of a height adjusting system in accordance with the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying drawing which is a schematic view.
The motorcycle body shown diagrammatically as 1 is suspended on the axles of front and rear wheels 4 and 5 respectively through a front fork 2 and a rear cushion formed by a pneumatic shock absorber 3. The front fork 2 and the pneumatic shock absorber 3 are telescopic, being formed as sealed cylinders constituting the shock absorbing mechanisms. The front fork 2 and the shock absorber 3 are integral with metal suspension springs 6 and 7, although shown separately for purposes of illustration.
The front fork 2 and the shock absorber 3 are respectively connected to gas pressure gauges 8 and 9, electro-magnetic leak valves 10 and 11 and pressure responding change-over switches 12 and 13 and also to a surge tank 18 by way of check valves 14 and 15 and electro-magnetic valves 16 and 17. The surge tank 18 has connected to it an air pump 19 which is driven by an electric motor 20.
The electric motor 20 is connected to a storage battery 23 through electro-magnetic switches 21 and 22. In addition a rotary switch 24 is connected to the shaft of the pointer of the speedometer of the motorcycle and has its movable contact 25 connected to one terminal of the battery 23. The leak valves 10 and 11 have their drive coils 10' and 11' connected across the battery 23 through a contact 26 which is engaged by the contact 25 when the motorcycle stops or runs at low speed.
The switch 21 has its drive coil 21' connected across the battery 23 through a fixed contact 27 which is engaged by the contact 25 when the running speed of the motorcycle is raised. On the other hand, the switch 22 has its drive coil 22' connected across the battery through one of the fixed contacts of the change-over switches 12 and 13 while the electro-magnetic valves 16 and 17 have their drive coils 16' and 17' connected across the battery 23 through the other fixed contacts of the switches 12 and 13.
The drawing shows the condition of the height adjusting system when the motorcycle is stopped or running at low speed. Under these conditions, since the contact 26 of the switch 24 is engaged by the moving contact 25, the drive coils 10' and 11' of the leak valves 10 and 11 are energised and these valves are opened so that the internal chambers of the front fork 2 and the shock absorber 3 are vented to the atmosphere. As a result, the motorcycle body 1 is supported only by the springs 6 and 7 and is held at its low level. At the same time, since the drive coils 16' and 17' of the electro-magnetic valves 16 and 17 are disconnected from the battery by the switches 12 and 13 these valves are also opened and the air in the tank 18 is discharged to the atmosphere through the check valves 14 and 15 and the leak valves 10 and 11. Since the switch 22 has its drive coil 22' connected across battery 23 through the switches 12 and 13, it is closed. On the other hand, since the switch 21 has its drive coil 21' disconnected from the battery 23 by the rotary switch 24, it is opened and the electric motor 20 is not energised.
When the running speed of the motorcycle is then raised, the movable contact 25 of the switch 24 is turned into contact with the fixed contact 27. As a result, the leak valves 10 and 11 have their drive coils 10' and 11' disconnected from the battery so that they are closed. At the same time the switch 21 has its drive coil 21' connected to the battery 23 through the contact 27 so that it is closed to start the electric motor 23. As a result the pump 19 operates to gradually boost the pressure of the air in the tank 18 which then passes through the valves 16 and 17 and the check valves 14 and 15 into the front fork 2 and the shock absorber 3 so that the motorcycle body 1 is supported not only by the forces of the springs 6 and 7 but also by the air pressure with a resultant gradual increase in the height of the motorcycle.
When the height of the front portion of the motorcycle body 1, for example, reaches a predetermined level, the pressure responsive change-over switch 12 is changed over by the prevailing pressure so that the electro-magnetic valve 16 has its drive coil 16' energised until it is closed. As a result, the pressure in the front fork 2 thereafter maintains a predetermined level so that the front portion of the body accordingly also maintains a predetermined height. On the other hand, however, the rear portion of the motorcycle body continues to rise until the pressure responding change-over switch 13 also changes over when the height reaches a further predetermined level, so that the electro-magnetic valve 17 is also closed so that the rear portion of the body also maintains a predetermined height. Moreover, when the switches 12 and 13 have both changed over, the switch 22 has its drive coil 22' de-energised so that it is opened to stop the electric motor 20.
Accordingly, since the motorcycle has its height held at a low level when it stops or runs at a low speed, the rider can easily reach the ground with his feet so as to hold the motorcycle body in a stable position. When the running speed of the motorcycle exceeds a predetermined level, the height is automatically raised and held at a suitable level. As a result, high speed cornering can be performed without difficulty and excellent riding comfort can be attained by making the seat sufficiently thick.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US3854710 *||Dec 16, 1971||Dec 17, 1974||Girling Ltd||Motor-cycle suspensions|
|US3861696 *||Jun 1, 1972||Jan 21, 1975||Bofors Ab||Device for damping rocking movements occurring in a chassis|
|US3995883 *||Aug 26, 1974||Dec 7, 1976||Lucas Aerospace Limited||Land vehicle wheel suspension arrangements|
|US4153266 *||Dec 5, 1977||May 8, 1979||Uhls Jimmie J||Air shock apparatus for motorcycles|
|US4168840 *||Mar 24, 1978||Sep 25, 1979||General Motors Corporation||Motor vehicle level control circuit|
|US4212481 *||Sep 13, 1978||Jul 15, 1980||Diafil International S.A.||Suspension system for vehicle wheels|
|US4310172 *||Apr 23, 1979||Jan 12, 1982||General Motors Corporation||Position control system|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US4568101 *||May 2, 1984||Feb 4, 1986||Harley-Davidson Motor Co., Inc.||Automatic suspension system|
|US4657280 *||Oct 25, 1984||Apr 14, 1987||Honda Giken Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha||System for controlling the damping rate of a vehicle suspension|
|US4709934 *||Dec 18, 1985||Dec 1, 1987||Kabushiki Kaisha Showa Seisakusho||Vehicle leveling system|
|US5086866 *||Oct 25, 1990||Feb 11, 1992||Suzuki Kabushiki Kaisha||Motorcycle having body height adjustor|
|US5101923 *||Nov 13, 1990||Apr 7, 1992||Suzuki Kabushiki Kaisha||Motorcycle having body height adjusting mechanism|
|US5201384 *||Oct 26, 1990||Apr 13, 1993||Suzuki Kabushiki Kaisha||Motorcycle having body height adjusting mechanism|
|US5348112 *||Feb 19, 1993||Sep 20, 1994||Works Performance Products, Inc.||Motorcycle height adjuster|
|US6905126 *||Jul 1, 2002||Jun 14, 2005||Jesse A. Jurrens||Air-bag suspension system|
|US7270211 *||Jun 22, 2004||Sep 18, 2007||Jones C Ray||Compressed air motorcycle lift adapted for internal placement within front forks of a motorcycle|
|US7287761 *||Dec 9, 2004||Oct 30, 2007||Charles James Montgomery||Method and an assembly for selectively adjusting the height and load capacity of a motorized assembly and a motorized assembly incorporating the method|
|US7559396||Jun 9, 2006||Jul 14, 2009||AirFX, LLC||Motorcycle air suspension system|
|US8262100||Sep 28, 2010||Sep 11, 2012||Georges Thomas||Vehicle height adjustment suspension device|
|US20060124371 *||Dec 9, 2004||Jun 15, 2006||Charlie Montgomery||Method and an assembly for selectively adjusting the height and load capacity of a motorized assembly and a motorized assembly incorporating the method|
|US20090295112 *||Aug 1, 2005||Dec 3, 2009||Nuno Manuel Filipe Maroco||Steering, suspension and fixation system for motorcycle wheels|
|WO2006063340A2 *||Dec 9, 2005||Jun 15, 2006||Charles James Montgomery||Motorized assembly with selective height and load adjusting means|
|WO2006063340A3 *||Dec 9, 2005||Dec 7, 2006||Charles James Montgomery||Motorized assembly with selective height and load adjusting means|
|WO2007015653A1 *||Aug 1, 2005||Feb 8, 2007||Nuno Manuel Filipe Maroco||Steering, suspension and fixation system for motorcycle wheels|
|U.S. Classification||200/276, 267/64.28, 280/276, 280/279, 280/284|
|International Classification||B62K25/04, B60G17/00, B62K25/00, B60G17/015, B60G17/052|
|Cooperative Classification||B62K25/04, B62K2025/044, B60G2400/51222, B60G2400/204, B60G2300/12, B62K2025/045, B60G17/0161, B60G17/052, B62K25/00, B60G2400/252, B60G2500/205|
|European Classification||B62K25/00, B62K25/04, B60G17/052|
|Feb 19, 1981||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SHOWA MANUFACTURING CO., LTD., 6-20, 2-CHOME, YAES
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST.;ASSIGNOR:KAWAMURA SADAO;REEL/FRAME:003867/0981
Effective date: 19810128
|Jun 19, 1987||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Jun 5, 1991||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8
|Jun 21, 1995||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 12